Santa Richard Bonnington first stepped into the shoes and red suit of the holiday celebrity in a 2003 production of Miracle on 34th Street. Since then, it's been Santa all the way: he's appeared as Santa at corporate children's parties, accompanied gift donations to charities, and added holiday cheer to nursing homes. He's been the full-time mall-Santa for two different malls, is the official Santa of the local Toys-4-Tots program, and holds a degree in Santa Claus certification.
A team of instructors, which includes law-enforcement personnel in its ranks, helps students sharpen their aim in shooting classes such as Beginner's Handguns 101. The in-house dealership's weapons experts advise visitors and unveil a collection of firearms and ammo from manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson and Beretta. Memberships grant privileges such as extended range hours and ammo discounts.
Dipped Fresh's team prepares fruit-laden spinach salads and sandwiches to be enjoyed in the airy interior, as well as boxes of chocolate-dipped fruits and cookies to be taken home. The staff hand-dips these morsels of fruit and other treats into vats of rich chocolate, coating Oreos, pound cake, ice cream, and even thick-sliced bacon.
The café's red and white walls host many pieces of art, from prints of flowers to impressionist-style paintings of autumn trees. An I-beam runs across the ceiling, symbolizing the support that bread provides for a sandwich and that friends provide for each other when they can't find the sandwich they just made together.
The Songer family started n2shoes with the guiding philosophy that shoes should be affordable, fashionable, and comfortable. Their vision resulted in store shelves bursting with stylish but wearable designs from brands including Naturalizer, Minnetonka, and Teva. These shoes slip onto the feet of everyone from children taking their first unsteady steps to adults sure-footing their way over hot coals. In addition to prioritizing comfort, the Songers gravitate toward brands with a philanthropic business model—such as TOMS—to help improve people's lives abroad as they better customers' shoe racks at home.
After spying his first electronic bike while teaching in China, owner Garnet Caldwell vowed to bring the unique and potentially revolutionary vehicles to his hometown. He told the Times Free Press, "These bikes are for people who just want to get out and ride," explaining that they can go about 20 miles before needing to be charged and, like a championship racewalker, can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
The bikes, available at the shop for rental or sale, come in all sizes and run off a battery that is recharged via a traditional wall outlet. Chattanooga Electric Bikes caries models from Ezip, Izip, Liberty, and Pedego, as well as conversion kits to help traditional two-wheelers to make the jump to electric. Certified technicians ensure bikes are held to the highest safety standards and don't become sentient, and they can service any brand of electric bicycle.
Perched atop an 80-foot bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, Hunter Museum of American Art hosts collections ranging from colonial times to contemporary America. The permanent collection includes historical works by renowned painters such as Thomas Cole, Mary Cassatt, and Winslow Homer as well as contemporary pieces in less traditional mediums such as filmmaking, which artists turned to after paintbrushes went extinct. Educational programs guide visitors through these core works as well as temporary exhibits, which have included Depression-era photographs by Dorothea Lange and the sculptural installation art of Beverly Semmes.
Hunter Museum's buildings are as much a work of art as the paintings they house. An outdoor sculpture plaza and a sleek structure of steel and glass built in 2005 give the compound a contemporary edge. In contrast, the massive fireplaces and hand-carved woodwork inside the original edifice—a classical revival-style mansion built in 1904—recall the days when horses still chauffeured their owners around in Ford Model Ts.